Memes, in colloquial terms, are legit everywhere around us. From pointless scrolls on our Instagram explore pages and tags by our friends to topical billboards around the city, memes are preserved parts of our shared lives and psyche. They have proven themselves as units that imitate, transmit, survive, and recur in culture. But are memes contingent only on imitation or do they reinvent the sources with every act of imitation? Do memes just convey messages or do they circumvent a newer world of signs and significations paving the way for renewed meaning making processes and in extension - newer cultures? Where do we put a pin on the origin of a meme or are all memes imitations of imitations? What happens therefore to the history of memes or is historicization then merely an attempt to untangle complex interwebs of culture? Are these mimetic representations then innocent acts or do they thrive on exclusionary practices? Are memes impacted by temporality and thus validity of certain cultures or do they bring longevity to them?
When we meme, what do we really meme?
About the Godrej India Culture Lab Leadership Programme
The Culture Lab Leadership Programme is a summer internship for humanities students in Mumbai. It is a deep dive into the culture industry of the city, with visits and masterclasses from some of the most incredible creative professionals in the field. Students from disciplines ranging from architecture to sociology come together at the Lab to create something that adds to the city’s conversations on culture. Find out more about our previous batches' work on Urdu Culture Now (2018) and Migration Museum (2019).